Category Archives: Travel

The GT Road Blog

NPR correspondents are taking the historic Grand Trunk Road  from the Bay of Bengal in the east to the Hindu Kush mountains in the west, across the Indian subcontinent.  They talk about life along the route. This is the first post from when they arrived in Pakistan, last month. We hope to reproduce, over the next few days, here on PTH, their thoughts and impressions on the journey through Pakistan.

In Pakistan, The Grand Trunk Road Is ‘An Expression Of Hope’

By Steve Inskeep

Our colleague Philip Reeves began this journey by struggling to find the beginning of the Grand Trunk Road. We had no such problem finding where it crossed into Pakistan. Here the highway crosses one of the more heavily fortified borders on earth. Continue reading

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Kinhar-Part II

1129695-View_of_River_Kunhar_and_Valley-Naran

In old pages and pictures of my existence
Lurks somewhere, the old tales of purity
The river that flows across those valleys
Where I once grew up in protection

Through its peace and tranquillity
The old valleys, sheltered in my books
Stand there by its side, from years of travel
Stand there by its side, the old monuments
The old stories of blunder and danger

Travels with me the people of that land,
Strange and few, the beauty and its demise
As I breathe that air from years of distance
As I grow old, with memories of separation

Never there dwells darkness only the light
The silence in that land, where once fairies grew
So I thought as my desire to grow old embolden
Walk as I towards those places, in hesitation

Will I find what I left behind?
Will it find me as I move away from its tranquillity?
The old lake saif-ul-malook and its serenity
As Indus snares in its awake, all that arrives

The old imprints within my mind, as I travel
From footsteps of Kashmir to Sindh,
To meet its creators, to meet the creation
The adventures of distant times of nature and mankind!

Kashkin

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Pakistaniat : The Crisis of Identity

Bradistan Calling

 

What can I give to Pakistan as a present on its 62nd Birthday, What else than an article on its chequered history and identity. Bertrand Russell famously said,” There are three great civilisations in East i.e. India, China and Islam”. Pakistan is blessed to be located at the crossroads of all these great civilisations. In my humble opinion this is the biggest strength of Pakistani identity. Continue reading

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Neo ‘Iron curtain’ and the loud marching steps.

The Neo ‘Iron Curtain’ and the loud marching steps of  televangelistas.

Bradistan Calling

The latest cultural trend is the sensational rise of televangelist channels in U.K, using tactics which can only be described as ‘emotional and religious blackmail’ and premium rate phone charges to raise funds from devotees, most of these are Nigerian Pentecostal ‘Witchdoctor’  (faith healer potions and exorcisms) TV channels operating from London. Generally the term ‘televangelist’ refers to American evangelical splinter churches propagating to solicit donations for converting poor Africans. This concoction of ideologies is being beamed back to Africa and Asia through satellite. Continue reading

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Remembering Bashir Ahmed MSP

Bashir Ahmed Member Scottish Parliament.

Bradistan Calling

I first saw Bashir Ahmed on UK’s Pakistani channel (Pakistani channel was a result of the split between Pakistani TV Asia and Zee TV Europe). Second time I saw Bashir Ahmed was on BBC Parliament channel giving a speech to Scottish Parliament about Pakistan and its economy. A few days ago, I saw his Picture on a News website with a notice of his death and the news item that his seat in parliament has been filled by female deputy from his party SNP.

Bashir Ahmad MSP, politician and businessman, born 12 February 1940; died 6 February 2009 of a sudden heart failure.

In 2007 Bashir Ahmed became the first Asian (Pakistani) and first Muslim member of the Scottish Parliament when he was elected one of the four regional members representing city of Glasgow. Bashir Ahmad was born in Punjab, and in 1961 moved to Scotland. He recalled arriving at Glasgow airport (Sadly in June 2007 Muslim-Indian/Iraqi terrorists attacked Glasgow airport with a home-made car bomb) from Pakistan not speaking a word of English. A bus driver went off his route to help Bashir to his house. This was Scottish hospitality for Bashir, when Americans were suffering racial segregation on the buses.

 He worked initially as a bus conductor before setting up in business, eventually owning shops, restaurants and a hotel. He also co-founded the Pakistan Welfare Organisation.

 Bashir Ahmad joined Scottish National Party in 1995 and set up the group Scots Asians for Independence from UK. In a speech at the SNP’s conference he told Scots: “It’s not where we came from that’s important, it’s where we’re going together.” The work Bashir Ahmad put in making Scotland perhaps the only place in Europe where multiculturalism isn’t a dirty word, meant that across the political spectrum there is an acceptance that all come to the table of Scotland with different badges of identities, cultures and faiths – but sit round it in ease and with respect.

Pakistani business people have become multi-millionaires and British Members of Parliament (In 1997 Mr. Mohammed Sarwar -Labour Party- became the First Pakistani MP in UK also from Glasgow. Currently six Pakistanis and one Kashmiri are Members of British Parliament and House of lords).

 Bashir Ahmad joined the SNP national executive committee in 1998 and when in 1999 Scottish parliament was constituted he was ninth on the SNP’s Glasgow list for the first Scottish parliamentary elections. In 2003 he was elected to represent the Pollokshields East(an area famous for Pakistani restaurants) of Glasgow city council, becoming the SNP’s first Asian (Pakistani) councillor.

 In 2007 Bashir Ahmed was elected an MSP. He took his seat at Holyrood wearing traditional Pakistani dress and swore his oath in both English and Urdu (like the Nobel Prize acceptance speech by Dr Abdu-Salam or Dr Kamal Qureshi -the Member of Parliament Denmark-  audience with Queen Margarette).

He served on various cross-party groups, for human rights and civil liberties, for carers, for older people, age and ageing, and the group for Tartan(Scotland national costume male kilt which looks like a female skirt) Day. He took his Muslim faith and Pakistani culture seriously.

A number of people tell how they had been touched by his warmth and kindness. His generosity did not have barriers of caste, race or religion. He helped many deserving Pakistani students and workers in times of need without expectation of rewards or gratitude.

May, His Soul Rest in Peace.Ameen

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Will we need to close the door to Pakistan’s dispossessed?

Our leaders are losing sleep over the Taliban’s advance and what that could spell for Britain

I would like to welcome Zahid Abdullah to Britain. He is a Pakistani student of English literature, rather than the snarling prose of the theocrats who threaten his country, and suffered the keenest blow a lover of books can take when he lost his sight. Undeterred, Abdullah divided his spare time between producing talking books for the blind and supporting the Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives, a pressure group that campaigns for the classic liberal causes of human rights, freedom of information and freedom from “barbaric acts of terrorism”. Continue reading

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Swat & Tourism

by  Bilal Qureshi

The army did wonders in Swat and proved that few militants, even if they are determined to die, but inflict tremendous harm to others are no match for a disciplined army, thank God. At this point, it seems obvious that the situation in Swat is getting better in terms of the defeat of the Taliban. The government seems in control and sooner or later, the residents are going to start coming back to their villages, homes and towns.

And that is where the new problem begins! Continue reading

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